Sometimes the borderline between fashion and art is very thin. There are fashion designers who make pieces which are breaking with prejudices about fashion and which make us look at fashion in a different way. On top of my list of fashion designers and artists, there is Iris van Herpen. When you look at her pieces, you never have a moment you’re not impressed by what you see. The colours, the fabrics, the designs…and then there’s that mysterious ‘veil’ that almost covers her collections..
Iris van Herpen, a young, on the first sight girl-next-door type of woman, who’s born in Wamel, a small town in the Netherlands. But this first look is not giving you a right view on who this lady really is. Van Herpen’s motto is ‘normal rules don’t apply’. And that’s really what describes all of her collections. She breaks with the rules of fashion, the rules of art and she also involves the world of technology in her work. Iris van Herpen is ahead of one’s time!
This amazing story of a young fashion designer and artist began with Van Herpen studying Fashion Design on the Academy of Arts in Arnhem (a dutch city). When she was able to intern, she went to Alexander McQueen in London en Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. It was in the days she shared with McQueen that Van Herpen really developed her artistic view on fashion.
When Van Herpen graduated, she started designing shoes for United Nude, a shoe brand. And in these collections you can defenitely see the influence of her internship at McQueen. But the feeling of starting her own business became stronger and stronger and in 2007 Van Herpen started her own fashion brand, named Iris van Herpen.
And it was soon that the world of fashion discovered this talented lady and welcomed her with open arms, because in 2009 and 2010 she won the Dutch Design Award and in 2010 at the Dutch Fashion Award Show Van Herpen won no less than three fashion awards. Van Herpen’s golden era started!
Van Herpen showed her collections at Amsterdam International Fashion Week, London Fashion Week and the Paris Haute Couture-week.
Van Herpen was and still is lauded by her unusual designs. She uses new fabrics, which she develops together with technicians and she shows her public the best craftsmanship; all Van Herpen’s designs are made by hand. And besides that, the main thing Van Herpen shows us with her collections is the character and the emotions of an unique woman. She is known by her total devotian to her work and her dare, and that’s something we all can learn from!
Here are some pieces of Van Herpen’s amazing collections:
And to end with, I want to clarify even more how amazing this woman is, by showing you one of her quotes:
For me fashion is an expression of art that is very close related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting.
In all my work I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art, and not just a functional and devoid of content or commercial tool. With my work I intend to show that fashion can certainly have an added value to the world, that it is timeless and that its consumption can be less important then its beginning. Wearing clothing creates an exciting and imperative form of self-expression. ‘Form follows function’ is not a slogan with which I concur. On the contrary, I find that forms complement and change the body and thus the emotion. Movement, so essential to and in the body, is just as important in my work. By bringing form, structure and materials together in a new manner, I try to suggest and realize optimal tension and movement.